Camped at Mohand Marg in May 1900, and writing the last lines of his English translation of the Rajatarangini, Aurel Stein expressed some kind of gratitude to Kashmir. In the preface to the work writes Stein, “From the high mountain plateau which my camp once more occupies, almost the whole of Kashmir lies before me, from the ice-capped peaks of the northern range to the long snowy line of the Pir- Pantsal- a little world of its own, enclosed by mighty mountain ramparts. Small indeed the country may seem by the side of the great plains that extend in the south and confined the history of which it was the scene. And yet, just as the natural attractions of the valley have won it fame far beyond the frontiers of India, thus too the interest attaching to its history far exceeds the narrow geographical limits. The favours with which Nature has so lavishly endowed “the land in the womb of Himalaya,” are not likely to fade or vanish. But those manifold remains of antiquity which the isolation of the country has preserved, and which help us to resusciate the life and conditions of earlier times, are bound to disappear more and more with the rapid advances of Western influence.
“Great are the changes which the last few decennia have brought over Kashmir, greater, perhaps, than any which the country has experienced since the close of Hindu period. It is easy to foresee that much of what is of value to the historical student will long before be destroyed or obliterated. It is time to collect it as carefully as possible the materials still left for the study of old Kashmir and its earliest records."
“I have spared no efforts to serve this end, and in the result of my labours, I hope, there will be found some return for the boons which I owe to Kashmir .”
The edited version of the Rajatarangini was a unique new addition to the corpus of Indological studies and yet, this vehicle that brought him to the threshold of his career as an explorer and an archaeologist ran out of print by 1926.
“On account of the valuable data it contains (Kshemendra’s Lokaprakasa), I had very often occasions to quote it from manuscript, in my annotated translation of Kalhana’s Rajatarangini (Constable, London , 2 vols) which was published with the assistance of Kashmir Durbar in 1900 and is now, I regret to say, quite out of print.” - Aurel Stein.
(In a letter dated January 23, 1926 by Aurel Stein to the Resident of Kashmir, Sir John Wood ) Stein Mss, 112, Bodleian Library, Oxford.
Rajatarangini was Stein’s first and the last love and given its importance for the student of ancient history of India, very naturally he planned for its revised edition.
“As I know your interest in Kashmir, I mention how gratified I was when Lanmann quite recently made the very encouraging offer of getting the new edition of my Rajatarangini translation reprinted in the Harvard Sanskrit Series. It seems the only chance of getting this really needful republication done in a satisfactory way. But I am not at all sure whether the heavy cost likely to be involved will not prove a very serious obstacle.”
- Aurel Stein.
(in a letter dated June 8, 1929 by Aurel Stein to Franklin Edgerton) Stein Mss 74, Bodleian Library, Oxford.